Ponca City Finishes Municipal Fiber Build Under Budget

The finished network provides affordable, uncapped, multi-gigabit fiber access to the city's 24,100 residents in Northern Oklahoma.


PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA – Officials in Ponca City, Oklahoma, report that they’ve completed construction of a citywide fiber broadband network ahead of schedule and under budget. The finished network is now providing affordable, uncapped, multi-gigabit fiber access to every local resident in the community.

In 1996, Ponca City began developing a 140-mile central fiber network to help connect schools, city offices, and other key anchor institutions. The city’s infrastructure was expanded in 2005 to provide access to local businesses and again in 2007 when the city began providing local access to a citywide WiFi system at no cost to local residents.

Frustrated with substandard service from regional telecom monopolies, city officials began talking about building a citywide fiber network in 2014. By 2015, officials had begun gauging local interest and found that 85 percent of residents were frustrated with existing service and overwhelmingly supported the city’s plan to build something better. That same year officials began network planning and studying other projects in earnest. Eight years later those efforts are paying off for Ponca City residents.

We completely finished our construction in March, 2023 – about four months ahead of schedule and under budget,” says Dave Williams, director of technology services for Ponca City.  “Service is now available to every home and business inside the city limits, and business is booming.”

All told, the city deployed more than 400 miles of new fiber throughout city limits. Williams said the final overall network build passed more than 10,103 traditional customer locations (residents and businesses). The new network also passed another 3,520 “special” locations that provide connection points for several non-customers, including dark fiber for the city’s public schools, university center, and hospital, as well as fiber fed to city buildings, traffic and street light control cabinets, major intersection camera feeds, and 482 WiFi radios to help feed the city’s WiFi network.

The Ponca City Broadband project was financed through loans backed by cash reserves, several of which leaned on the kind of ultra-low interest rates briefly observed back in 2020. Williams said he expects to have some money left over from the effort, which was originally projected to cost $20.4 million.

Thanks to the city’s efforts, locals now have access to three different fiber tiers at speeds most local incumbents haven’t been able to match: a symmetrical 50 Mbps tier for $60 a month, a symmetrical 100 Mbps tier for $100 a month, and a symmetrical 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) tier for $250 a month.

Residents have to pay a $200 activation fee for service, which comes with no usage caps or overage fees, and users don’t have to sign up for long-term contracts.




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